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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Guest host Elliott Forrest fills in for Leonard Lopate. First, three scientists who received a Lasker Award for their discoveries concerning cytoskeletal motor proteins talk about their work. Damien Echols, one of the West Memphis Three, who was tried and convicted for the murder of three children in 1993, talks about serving almost 20 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Plus, our latest Backstory segment looks at voter identification. Then we'll take a look at how the auto industry bailout is shaping the election.

Lasker Award Winners

Michael Sheetz, of Columbia University, James Spudich, of Stanford, and Ronald Vale, of UC San Francisco, received a Lasker Award for discoveries concerning cytoskeletal motor proteins, machines that move cargos within cells, contract muscles, and enable cell movements. They’ll discuss their work.

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Damien Echols on Life After Death

In 1993, teenagers Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley, Jr.—known as the West Memphis Three—were convicted of the murders of three eight-year-old boys in Arkansas after a trial marked by tampered evidence, false testimony, and public hysteria. Baldwin and Misskelley were sentenced to life in prison, and Echols was sentenced to death. Over the next two decades, thousands of supporters called for a new trial, and in a shocking turn of events, all three men were released in August 2011. Echols shares his story in his book Life After Death.

Filmmaker Joe Berlinger was on the show in October 2011 discussing his three documentaries on the West Memphis Three. Listen to that interview.

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The Auto Industry and the 2012 Election

In 2008, we broke down the election map state-by-state. In 2012, we’re breaking it down by industry. Each week, we’ll look at a different industry that changed dramatically over the last four years and  find out how that might affect the presidential election. Catherine Rampell of the New York Times talks about the automotive industry and the continuing impact of the 2009 bailout as well as the president’s announcement that the Federal Trade Commission was moving against China, alleging that the country illegally subsidizes its auto part industry—and how all of that affects voters in states from Michigan to Missouri.


Backstory: Voter ID Laws and the 2012 Election

On Tuesday, Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court vacated a ruling earlier this summer that had upheld the state’s Voter ID law. On this week’s Backstory, Richard Hasen, Chancellor’s Professor of Law and Political Science at the University of California Irvine School of Law, talks about how Pennsylvania is just the latest state where Voter ID laws are being challenged or struck down. And we’ll find out what that means for the election in November.

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